Today marks the first day of National Customer Service Week (Oct. 6-10, 2014). To kick off the week, I thought I’d share one of my all-time favorite movie clips from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s the scene where Holly and Paul try to purchase something at Tiffany for $10. Though the salesperson asks a few too many closed-ended questions, and Tiffany really won’t engrave anything not purchased there, the spirit of excellent customer service still shines through:
Though it’s called National Customer Service Week, we know the real secret for exceeding customer expectations is to turn customer service into customer experience. Here are some guidelines for creating an exceptional customer experience:
- Create some magic
Whether I’m purchasing a designer dress, dining at a posh restaurant, or checking into a four-star hotel, create a little magic for me! Sales associates at Louis Vuitton don white gloves before presenting a handbag. Harry Winston offers you a glass of champagne as you peruse their diamonds, and Ritz-Carlton instructs its employees never to say ‘no’ to a guest. Think about how to make the customer experience magical and unforgettable.
- Make me the center of your universe
Of course you have other customers; of course you have paperwork to complete; but while I’m your customer, I should have your complete attention. Ask the right open-ended questions to better understand what I want, and then listen. Sounds simple, but I cannot tell you how many sales associates talk more than they listen.
- Be the brand
Your attitude, dress and language should reflect your brand’s image. Your passion for the brand should come through in your actions and words. Is your vocabulary consistent with your brand’s message? Share a bit of history, express excitement about your latest product, or tell me how much you love what I’ve chosen and why. I like your brand; that’s why I’m here. If you’re not crazy passionate about your brand, consider working somewhere else.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency!
Everything the customer sees and hears—from the décor, to the background music, to the way the purchase is presented—should enhance the experience. Carefully consider every design choice to ensure it exemplifies the brand. Pay attention to every detail. The Tiffany bow is never askew! Remember, the customer experience goes beyond the store. Advertising, websites, social media, corporate responsibility, and after-sales service—all need to align with the brand promise.
On October 8, 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed Presidential Proclamation 6485 establishing the first week of October as National Customer Service Week™. For more information about National Customer Service week, visit the PACE website.